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The disappointing career of Axel Tuanzebe – Does a loan move improve his chances at Manchester United?

Manchester United centre-back Axel Tuanzebe stunned the world in October 2020 when he nullified the threat of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe in a 2-1 victory.

Tuanzebe joined United at the tender age of eight, winning the hearts and footballing minds of many of his coaches and peers. 

He started his career on a high by captaining United’s Milk Cup-winning youth squad. He went on to win the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2015. However, what once promised to be a flying career has been riddled with injuries and misfortune. 

Following his loan move to Stoke City, one question that needs asking is whether there is any future for the 25-year-old at United. While age is still on his side, there have often been questions about where he fits in at Old Trafford.

Since making his first-team debut in 2017, the youngster has only appeared 37 times for United. He has also spent significant time on loan with Aston Villa and Napoli before joining Stoke for a third one.

Tuanzebe was often considered one of the shining lights coming out of Carrington. However, his career has not lived up to the billing. 

With Erik ten Hag in charge of the Red Devils, Tuanzebe is now at a crossroads in his career. While the incomplete dream at Old Trafford remains, it seems unlikely that his future in Manchester is very bright.

Axel Tuanzebe is unlikely to remain at Manchester United after his loan move

One aspect of Ten Hag’s managerial reign is that he never shies away from making difficult decisions.

Whether it be a long-time player or a star signing, the Dutchman always puts the team’s performance first.

Given that Tuanzebe last played a prominent role for Villa in 2021 and spent most of his time at Napoli either injured or on the bench, it is unlikely that Ten Hag will look at him as anything other than surplus to requirements.

The former Ajax manager is on a mission to develop and restructure a United side that is filled with the profiles he deems suitable for his style of play, and Tuanzebe is unlikely to fit the mould.

However, it should be noted that he is a competent defender. He is fast, strong and even has an eye for a pass. Despite this Tuanzebe is unlikely to stay on at United.

His injury record also plays a detrimental role in any chance he has of reviving his United career. 

Tuanzebe will hope to have a change in fortune at Stoke and his talent should eventually secure him another chance at the top level.

Given his failure to feature regularly for United’s first team, that opportunity will likely be elsewhere.